Epson AT-550L

Showcase your Retro PC / Build logs.

Epson AT-550L

Postby yawetaG » 2016-11-30 @ 15:40

As mentioned in the recent purchases thread, I bought a small Japanese PC on Yahoo Auctions Japan through a middleman service about two months back, which I received just yesterday. This is the result of a search for a system that would let me assess whether using a Japanese PC with a Japanese version of Windows or MS-DOS is feasible with next-to-no knowledge of the Japanese language, so maybe I can buy myself a PC-98 system later on. However, I also wanted a system that I could use with a US version of Windows if necessary, that was small enough because I haven't got much room in my house (and I also wanted to avoid a HUGE shipping bill), had a 100V/220V switch on the power supply, and that was a certain age.

Auction picture:

epson pc at-550 1.jpg


This is an Epson Endeavor AT-550L, more precisely a computer sold by Seiko Epson through their early online mail order division Epson Direct back in 1998 (first announced in January 1998).

Actually identifying the system took me a lot of time, as the type information is not mentioned anywhere on the case and the seller also had no clue. Only a model number was provided on a sticker on the back, a model number that was not mentioned in its entirety anywhere on the web. What did help though was the knowledge that it was sold via Epson's online mail order division, Epson Direct. After a lot of Googling, compiling a list of Epson system abbreviations (there's about a dozen), and then simply trying many different combinations, I came across a page for the later AMD K6 equipped version (AT-550LK), and from there managed to find the correct type number. However, even with that information I was not able to source a manual, but I did discover that Epson Japan still had all of the drivers available on their website. More on that later.

First, some better pictures of the outside.

Front, showing floppy disk drive and slimline CD drive:
IMG_6723.jpg


Several connectors are hidden behind a little panel (unfortunately one of the hinges is a bit busted):
IMG_6724.jpg

Audio output and microphone connectors and two USB ports. The black square above it is for infrared. Also an Intel Inside Pentium sticker and a Windows 95/NT sticker. The system should have a Japanese Windows 98 on the HDD, though.

Rear end:
IMG_6725.jpg

From left to right and top to bottom, switchable NLX power supply, Dell slot cover that probably means the system originally came with a optional VGA card that was removed and stuffed into a Dell, 56k PCI fax-modem (probably not a Winmodem) in the lower slot, game/MIDI port, VGA port, 10/100 Mbit 10Base-T network port + LEDs, PS/2 mouse and keyboard connectors, parallel and COM ports.

Specs according to auction and what I managed to track down of what should be hiding inside:
- Pentium 200 MMX
- 96 Mb RAM
- 3 Gb hard disk with Japanese Windows 98
- SiS chipset with onboard VGA, onboard Yamaha YMF-714 FM sound card and onboard NIC
- Riser card with 2x PCI and 1x ISA (shared)

Furthermore, according to http://radioc.web.fc2.com/weblib/y2k/epson/y2ktaio.htm the machine is Y2K compliant. At this point the rest of it was still a little mysterious.
Last edited by yawetaG on 2017-2-20 @ 10:09, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Epson AT-550L

Postby yawetaG » 2016-11-30 @ 16:06

The first thing I did after receiving the computer was to pop off the cover. This took slightly more time than anticipated, as the screws on the rear are more for show, and the cover is held very tightly to the rest of the system using a lot of clamps. Should anyone else ever get one of these and have to remove the cover, after removing the screws, you need to carefully slide the cover off the rest of the case using quite a bit of force by first sliding it about 5 cm backwards and then pulling it straight up. The bottom of the case is protected by a plastic tray that can't easily be removed.

Insides overview:
IMG_6726.jpg


It's a fairly small case (30 by 40 cm or so) that's tightly packed with components. Caps look good by the way, no worries there. The motherboard and riser are Asus OEM parts, more specifically a SP98-N motherboard in the NLX form factor, which according to the manual is like a high end board stuffed into a small form factor case. It has 256 Kb of secondary cache and TAG RAM soldered right to the board, tons of BIOS options, and these options for processor and bus settings:

IMG_6732.jpg

IMG_6741.jpg

(sorry about the bad second picture, but I haven't figured out yet how to lift up the section of the case holding the drives that cover part of the motherboard)

It's too bad that the case is so small, but it looks like this thing would be very good for overclocking...

The power supply is a special NLX power supply, which appears to be a small form factor ATX power supply. It connects to the riser board:
IMG_6729.jpg


The slimline CD-ROM drive attaches to the motherboard using a special cable that attaches to a special CD-ROM connector that is separate from the IDE connector:
IMG_6728.jpg

Below the CD-ROM drive, the hard disk is visible. I haven't yet figured out how to physically access it.
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Re: Epson AT-550L

Postby yawetaG » 2016-11-30 @ 16:14

A look at the riser board, with fax modem blocking the view a bit:
IMG_6727.jpg

IMG_6733.jpg


By the looks of it, the fax-modem likely is a fully featured modem, not a Winmodem that only consists of a single chip. The riser board is specific to this motherboard and handles more than just the expansion slots: the FDD and IDE connectors are attached to it. There is an alternate riser board that supports two IDE channels; this one only supports a single channel (two devices).

Top of fax-modem:
IMG_6734.jpg


More later...
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Re: Epson AT-550L

Postby Robert B » 2016-12-01 @ 07:22

What a neat little system :)
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Re: Epson AT-550L

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-01 @ 10:51

Some more digging has made me find another manual, for revision 1.02 of the board (the earlier one was for revision 1.03). This has a few differences with the later version (less features in the BIOS), and also says the L2 cache is 512Kb, which is weird because the later manual says it only has half of that. What makes everything even more curious is that the Pentium 200 MMX processor supposedly only is officially supported by a BIOS revision that shipped with the 1.03 board...and my board is revision 1.02 :confused: Well, guess I'll have to see what BIOS version it has once I power it up...

From Epson's website I pulled their latest BIOS version. Asus' website has three BIOS versions (107, 108, and a beta version of the 109 BIOS version). The 108 version fixes some issues with powering down the board, so that one will be a must-have if the system indeed has the issues. The BIOS update procedure is interesting in that the BIOS update utility can be used to back up the original BIOS.

Tracking down some of the drivers turned out a bit of a chore. I have all of the Japanese-language drivers for Windows 95, 98, and NT4, plus the additional utilities. These may work with English-language versions of Windows or not. English language drivers turned out to be harder to come by. Asus' website has VGA drivers for Windows 3.1, 95, NT3.51, and NT4, but no drivers for the onboard NIC and Yamaha YMF-714, and also missing is the setup utility allowing setting DOS VGA modes mentioned in the manual. The NIC is made by Intel and still supported by their current drivers, which are available for MS-DOS, Windows 98, and Windows NT. Remains the Yamaha OPL-3 chip. Yamaha's site has OPL-3 drivers for Windows 3.1, 95, and NT, but the YMF-714 chip is not mentioned on the site so I'm not sure they actually work. The only other hits I get for that particular chip are dodgy download sites...

One thing that is interesting about the Japanese drivers concerns the floppy disk drive. Japanese NEC PC-98 systems used a 3.5" floppy disk format that was 1.25 Mb instead of 1.44 Mb, so to retain compatibility many Japanese PCs have 3-mode 3.5" floppy disk drives supporting 720K, 1.25 Mb, and 1.44 Mb floppies. According to the information page linked to in an earlier post, the AT-550L supports 3-mode floppy disk drives in Windows 95/98 and NT. For this it uses a special driver (95/98 version, NT4 version - hope those links work, Epson's site uses a lot of javascript for various pages). As far as I can see, the FDD used is a standard Mitsumi unit, so it's possible those drivers also work on non-Japanese FDDs and Windows versions.

I've also managed to identify the case: another Asus OEM part, appears to be an older version of their Elan Vital B5/B-5N Mini-NLX case. Unfortunately I cannot locate a manual for it...

Next steps: Figure out how to physically access the hard disk to image it, check whether that screw hole for the hard disk that looks so empty did actually contain a screw or not (find screw if necessary), boot computer, copy settings + Windows registration key, check FDD/CD-ROM functionality, check HDD health, check NIC functionality if CD-ROM drive is dead.
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Re: Epson AT-550L

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-23 @ 09:42

It's ALIVE!

Okay, not entirely. Figure out how to access the hard disk. Switched the power supply to use 230V instead of 115V, connected a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and booted it. Had a look at the BIOS, which still had the data working up to today (battery OK!). OPL3 chip is shown to be present at boot.
However, Windows 98 (Japanese) craps out with two errors:
- HIMEM.SYS complains about unreliable XMS memory at address 02000000 (bad memory module?). The weird thing is that it does this after testing the extended memory successfully. No errors are displayed during the POST memory test.
- Apparently it expects a Japanese 106 key keyboard.

However, I suspect it might just be that the Windows 98 install is screwed up, as it appears to be the original 1998 installation. I managed to boot up to a Windows 98 command prompt by processing the start-up files manually (F8 boot option) and disabling HIMEM and the Japanese keyboard driver. The HIMEM error doesn't actually stop Windows 98 from booting, it hangs on the keyboard error.

Tried to boot from CD-ROM, but as stated in the auction the CD drive doesn't read. The disks spin up properly, followed by a lot of seeking noises and a read failure message - probably a dead laser. The CD-ROM drive is weird. It is hooked up to its own connector, and can't be disabled at all through the BIOS. During boot it is listed as depending from the second IDE channel

I managed to successfully boot from a Windows 98 boot floppy, which didn't throw up any memory related errors. Guess I'll have to try again with a floppy with Memtest86 on it. I also ran Scandisk on half* of the harddisk, and it was completely error-free (not bad for a 2-decade old 3Gb hard disk).

*US Scandisk doesn't like Japanese characters and craps out on files with those characters in the name, saying the files are corrupt because they have corrupt characters in the filename. WARNING: It also deletes the files instead of making a backup copy if you tell it to fix them! :angry:

The system seems to have seen little use, making me suspect the CD drive broke a long time ago and it was put away for later repair (which never happened). I'll replace the CD-drive, but have some doubts about what to do next:
- Find way to extract Windows key (I have all the drivers), get new Japanese Windows CD and new CD drive, and reinstall everything.
- Install MS-DOS/WfW from floppy (supposedly it should work, but I don't have all English-language drivers). Then get new CD drive anyway.
- Get new CD drive, install US Windows 98SE and try Japanese drivers on US Windows.

I'll post pictures later.
Last edited by yawetaG on 2016-12-24 @ 11:11, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Epson AT-550L

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-23 @ 12:22

Dead CD-drive (tray opens, spins up, doesn't read):

IMG_6763.jpg


Windows HIMEM error message, anything to worry about?:

IMG_6756.jpg


Japanese keyboard error:

IMG_6759.jpg


Booted into Japanese Windows 98 DOS:

IMG_6761.jpg
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Re: Epson AT-550L

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-23 @ 12:34

yawetaG wrote:Windows HIMEM error message, anything to worry about?:

IMG_6756.jpg



Gah, just googled it and it may mean the cache controller is bad :depressed: Will first test the RAM.
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Re: Epson AT-550L

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-23 @ 12:41

BIOS screens (forgot to take a picture of the main screen).

BIOS features setup:

IMG_6749.jpg


Chipset features setup:

IMG_6751.jpg


Standard CMOS setup:

IMG_6752.jpg


Power management setup:

IMG_6753.jpg


PnP and PCI setup:

IMG_6754.jpg
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Re: Epson AT-550L

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-23 @ 12:45

The board has on-board diagnostics.

Smart Alarm (LM78/LM75) setup:

IMG_6755.jpg


The CPU temperature went up to 55 degrees Celsius during operation (no heavy loads). Should I check whether the CPU fan operates properly?

The voltages look pretty good...
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Re: Epson AT-550L

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-24 @ 09:05

yawetaG wrote:
yawetaG wrote:Windows HIMEM error message, anything to worry about?:

IMG_6756.jpg



Gah, just googled it and it may mean the cache controller is bad :depressed: Will first test the RAM.


Still have to test the RAM, but some further investigation via Google suggests a bad second RAM module, which was added later on (October 1999). Some settings related to memory and bus speed in the BIOS appear to have been changed from default, suggesting the system was not stable with the default settings. The settings changed match with what needed to be changed on period systems when using underperforming RAM modules. Unfortunately that module would be the 64 Mb module...and I have nothing to replace it with at the moment.

Edit: Okay, there's definitely something wrong with the memory. I disabled the POST quick power on test, which revealed nothing at all (everything worked fine). Then I booted from the hard disk into a Windows 98 Safe Mode command prompt (without processing the start up files this time!), and ran the MEM command, which only saw 64 Mb of the 96Mb the BIOS sees! So why is there 32Mb missing?
The seller was able to boot into Windows and the auction pictures showed full RAM being available in Windows, so the problem must have developed in transit...

It seems the reason the system can't boot into Windows properly is that the Japanese Windows fonts are loaded into the high memory area and that fails. The keyboard error can be bypassed by hitting the space bar, I didn't look well yesterday and didn't realise I was being offered a menu with three options: US 101 key keyboard, some special JP keyboard model, and 106 key JP keyboard. Instead of choosing the 101 key option I was hitting the option for the 106 key JP version, which caused another error (current conclusion: don't bother using Japanese version of Windows on malfunctioning system if I don't know the language :blush: ).

The hard disk gets listed as a Quantum Fireball 4.3 (basically the same drive as in my Gateway2000), but only 2.5 Gb of it is partitioned. Will have to fix that. Another issue is that the BIOS is version 106, while the latest version is 109.
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Re: Epson AT-550L - Memory problems

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-25 @ 15:29

Started running Memtest86, which sees 94 Mb of RAM (this is correct; 2 Mb is used by the onboard video card), and reports a Pentium MMX with a clock speed of 200.5 MHz and 16K of L1 cache (correct), but fails to recognize the chipset, memory type and L2 cache (probably due to being somewhat unusual hardware that it doesn't know...). Until now no errors, but it's only been running for 40 minutes...
Edit 1: pass 1 successful, but pass 2 didn't start, so I hit the escape key and the system hung itself because those bits of the system not in use had gone in power saving mode and they didn't wake properly :dead: One hard reboot later and memtest86 pass 2 is underway with all sleep/suspend/coma options disabled in the BIOS.
Edit 2: Pass 2 completed successfully, with power saving options disabled it continues with the next pass properly.

Hmmm...found this (last post), which explains the why Win98 DOS only sees 64 Mb...however it makes me wonder whether Microsoft coded the Japanese version of Windows 98 in such a way it can't boot properly with a non-Japanese keyboard... That would be so beyond stupid...on the other hand, Microsoft. :|
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Re: Epson AT-550L - Thanks Microsoft

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-25 @ 19:52

Pass 3 completed successfully. This is very strange, as when trying to boot Japanese Windows 98 the issue shows up immediately. I don't think there's anything wrong with the memory at this point. It just looks like MS build their Japanese version of Windows 98 in such a way that it cannot boot properly without a Japanese keyboard connected - the keyboard is literally the only thing that is different between here and the Japanese seller. A sort of region lock. Pretty nasty. :angry:
I think I will first work on getting a replacement CD drive so I can actually boot from a (Live) CD for some more investigation and have a way of copying the hard disk contents. Once that is done, I will reformat the hard disk and install either MS-DOS 6.2 plus Windows for Workgroups 3.11 or US Windows 95 followed by US Windows 98SE Upgrade. I had a better look at the hard disk contents yesterday, and was able to see that the sound card drivers for the integrated Yamaha YMF-714 chipset are Yamaha's stock OPL3 drivers, as I somewhat suspected. I have the other drivers required already.
The hard disk cable looked like a normal cable with two hard disk connectors, so I will also try to add a CF-card adapter internally.

I want to safeguard the Japanese Windows 98 files because they are interesting. From what I've seen up to now, JP Windows 98 is a mix of the US version with Japanese language support added (like DOS/V - Japanese MS-DOS) and partially integrated with it, meaning some configuration files and programs are basically in English and others make use of kanji instead. The folder structure is mostly in English, except for some folder names that use whitespace-like symbols that cannot be typed in DOS. The MS-DOS utilities I've used are in Japanese, but the program names, command line options, and keyboard short-cuts are the same as in US MS-DOS. I'll take some pictures.
All of that explains pretty well why Japanese Windows 95/98 programs can be installed with little trouble on a US version, except that any function that makes use of double-byte characters won't work.
As I have two Windows 95/98 versions of Sakura Taisen that suffer from the aforementioned issue with double-byte characters on US Windows 98 and that won't run in Windows XP, I will also pick up a Japanese PS/2 keyboard and any useful retail versions of Japanese Windows (i.e. Windows 95, 98, and the multi-platform version of NT4), but I won't be installing those on this particular system. Instead I will hunt for a Pentium 3 system.
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Re: Epson AT-550L - All fixed!

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-27 @ 16:52

yawetaG wrote:Pass 3 completed successfully. This is very strange, as when trying to boot Japanese Windows 98 the issue shows up immediately. I don't think there's anything wrong with the memory at this point. It just looks like MS build their Japanese version of Windows 98 in such a way that it cannot boot properly without a Japanese keyboard connected - the keyboard is literally the only thing that is different between here and the Japanese seller. A sort of region lock. Pretty nasty. :angry:


Scratch this, I'm full of shit. Booted into Safe Mode Win98JP DOS again, explored a little more, took some pictures, then figured "Ah, why not try booting into regular mode Win98JP DOS for the heck of it". It worked, with Himem.sys loading properly! :D And now I''ve got Windows 98 working (in Safe Mode) :exclamation: Let's see how I got there:

1) What I started with was this two days ago, due to Himem.sys not loading:

IMG_6765.jpg


Only 64 Mb RAM available, this together with the earlier Himem.sys error message made me think something was wrong with the memory.

2) So:

IMG_6768.jpg


Made a MemTest86+ boot floppy and ran four full passes of it, didn't turn up anything at all.

3) While exploring the hard disk earlier I had already noticed various empty folders in places I didn't expect on the C: drive. The seller had written that he had wiped the D: drive of all personal files, but by the looks of it he had in fact wiped any folder susceptible of holding personal information on both the C: and D: drives, including Microsoft Office folders and other stuff. So I decided to have a closer look at all of the start-up files and the hard disk itself. Checked all of the files using MS Edit in DOS, didn't see anything strange:

IMG_6780.jpg

IMG_6771.jpg


Here's a look at Japanese Windows 98 Command.com, mixing English and Japanese in the same file:

IMG_6772.jpg
Last edited by yawetaG on 2016-12-27 @ 21:54, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Epson AT-550L - And we're in Windows :D

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-27 @ 17:05

4) Then I just tried to boot straight into regular MS-DOS, and it worked.

IMG_6781.jpg


Check out that memory! Himem.sys and EMM386 both properly loaded. :cool: At this point I started to wonder what could prevent Windows from working, while DOS worked fine...corrupted files? Improperly shut down Windows 98?

So why not explore a little further?

5)

IMG_6782.jpg


JP Scandisk up and running :D. It found some corrupted file, which I made it fix. I've used these programs so often in the past that I more or less know what each button does, meaning a mere different language wasn't too much of a problem.

(the screen is offset due to what appears a problem with the video output. As Asus made a special tool to fix it in DOS and the Windows driver has a specific setting to fix it, I assume it's a "feature")

6) The magic moment:

IMG_6783.jpg


:D :D :D :D :D

As for the original error? Well, no clue. The only other major change besides running Scandisk I made was to turn the system on its side, as it was designed to be able to stand upright too. I will later check whether there is something internally that could cause a memory error when laying flat...

Edit: Reason for not booting into Windows found: the last program used was RegEdit. So my best guess is that the seller was a bit too eager in cleaning up and broke something. The system is also very slow.
Oh wow, and although it starts very slowly, regular Windows 98 also works, and this computer doesn't have a beeping speaker, but build-in real sound!
Oh gods, shutdown is even slower...can't figure out whether it hangs or whether I need to press the power button to really switch it off... :dead: This NLX power supply is weird. It's supposedly ATX, but behaves like a AT power supply.
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Re: Epson AT-550L - And we're in Windows :D

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-27 @ 22:40

Something I noticed when investigating the various start-up files was a reference to something called "Bilingual system". Googling this term lands me very few hits, but I did find this page: Bilingual Windows 95 notes. Going by that page, it's quite easy to port Japanese keyboard drivers to a US version of Windows 95 (and vice-versa). The page also explains how to set up an IME (Input Method Editor), and has several other interesting tips. However, what seems to be indeed impossible is to use Japanese programs successfully on a US Windows 95, and likely the other way around also doesn't work perfectly.

Other stuff learned:
- US Scandisk goes the cheap way to find corrupt files; it looks at unusual symbols in file names, meaning that file names with special characters in non-US versions of Windows scanned by US Scandisk will be incorrectly marked as corrupt. This is dumb and lazy programming.
- Himem.sys error messages are confusing.

Hardware-wise, this whole system is a bit strange, and I'm not entirely sure Windows can handle it properly.
- I changed the video memory from 2 Mb (shared) to 4 Mb (shared). Although I can now select higher resolutions in more colors in Windows, Windows still believes the system has 94 Mb of RAM available (like with 2 Mb shared video memory) instead of 92 Mb + 4 Mb shared video memory. :|
- The integrated video appears to have a few bugs with regards to video output position on the monitor depending on the resolution and color depth combination. Instead of having the video drivers correct that problem, a separate utility is provided to move around the video output on the monitor, but the utility itself already warns correcting further than a certain amount will cause unstable video output.
- I mentioned the NLX power supply. This is a special proprietary form factor power supply created by Asus that should behave like an ATX power supply. It doesn't. The button feels like the one on an ATX power supply, it's not a real switch but a soft-switch. However, the behaviour is more like an AT power supply, or perhaps I should say a mix between ATX and AT. When plugging in the mains on the back of the case it doesn't give the typical ATX "sounds like it's starting up"-sounds. Software controlled power down doesn't seem to work like on other ATX power supplies, but holding the button does shut the power down properly when the system hangs. Reboot works as expected.
- The speaker is connected to the integrated Yamaha OPL3 soundcard instead of the motherboard's speaker connector (there might even not be a speaker connector). When booting, the integrated sound is recognized as if it were a separate PCI card, so internally it's apparently wired to the PCI bus. The integrated sound uses the YMF-714 chipset, which is also used in various laptops and is supported by Yamaha's stock OPL3 drivers (despite Yamaha's own site not saying so).
- Interestingly, I don't think the fax-modem PCI card plugged into the lower PCI slot of the riser board is seen at boot.
- The slim laptop-style CD-ROM drive uses its own special interface, connects to the motherboard using an adapter with a slim ATAPI on one end and a special IDE connector with integrated power on the other, is shown as the master drive on the second IDE bus during boot, can be accessed via DOS, can't be disabled at all in the BIOS, and doesn't show up in Windows Explorer at all when not in use. It uses a special Epson CD driver that may or may not be a renamed Matsushita driver.
- Supposedly, the second IDE bus can be used separately from the CD-ROM drive by using a different riser card, which would mean a total of five IDE devices could be connected at once. How this is supposed to work I don't know...
- This Epson-branded SP-98N motherboard seems to be missing the integrated SCSI BIOS that can be used with special SCSI cards. The options pertaining to it are missing from the BIOS setup.
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Re: Epson AT-550L - And we're in Windows :D

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-28 @ 07:44

yawetaG wrote:Oh gods, shutdown is even slower...can't figure out whether it hangs or whether I need to press the power button to really switch it off... :dead:


More on this: The motherboard manual says it's supposed to shut down normally in Windows 95/98/NT when using the Windows shutdown, so I'll need to check the Windows power management settings, although the shutdown issue kinda looks like the very rare issue with shutting down I have on my Pentium II: system hangs at shutdown after disabling the video output, usually after it's been used for a long while under a heavy load. Obviously no heavy load happens here.
Windows To Do list at this point: Check out power management, run Scandisk in Windows, defrag hard disk, check swap file settings (didn't see a swap file earlier, lack of it would explain slowness), check system information and device manager for issues (as far as I can read them), check what kind of crap that's part of the original installation it loads on start-up.
Other: Fix or replace CD-ROM drive.
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Re: Epson AT-550L - And we're in Windows :D

Postby meljor » 2016-12-28 @ 19:31

Very nice little system! I do not like SiS chipsets but i do like it on my Asus sp97-v and the board in your system is made by Asus also and shouldn't be that different.

Try cleaning all the contacts first, just disassemble the whole thing and clean every single connection. It's old so it could suffer from some bad/dirty connections on the ram?

Also, did you clean the lens on the cdrom drive? It is very easy to acces it on these slims, a q-tip with some alcohol does the trick in most cases.

Enjoy it!


Btw, i would disable the onboard sis graphics and use a pci instead.
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Re: Epson AT-550L - And we're in Windows :D

Postby meljor » 2016-12-28 @ 19:43

Windows not shutting down is a common problem with win9x. It can be driver related (i forgot the exact reasons) but there are several fixes when you search Google.
It can also be a simple bios setting about power management.
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Re: Epson AT-550L - And we're in Windows :D

Postby yawetaG » 2016-12-28 @ 20:06

yawetaG wrote:Check out power management


Checked out, I can't read anything and will need to check the possible settings in my Windows 98SE install on another machine.

run Scandisk in Windows


Done, then done again from DOS after the crash referred to later on.

check swap file settings (didn't see a swap file earlier, lack of it would explain slowness), check system information and device manager for issues (as far as I can read them)


Checked the swap file settings, checked system information, which unlike yesterday did all show up properly, checked all DMA settings, noticed Windows whined about "PCI serial controller missing" (probably the modem).
I disabled Active Desktop again in the display settings (did that yesterday too, but the setting did not get saved properly), also chose a different background (the system had a nice late 1990s-style cherry blossom picture, very Japanese, went with that). I then played around with the utilities for the integrated graphics, which include a utility of which the only utility is to launch another utility that can be launched from the start menu :sweatdrop: (so it's completely useless).
I then checked out the sound options and Yamaha's media player, which looks very similar to a multimedia program I've used in the past but that wasn't branded "Yamaha".
I also found the seller didn't clean up well enough when I started the included copies of Word and Excel belonging to a Mr. Yokohama :lol:

defrag hard disk


Started off with the D drive, then later did the C drive. When defragging the C drive was almost complete, the video output got screwed up, then the completion chime sounded, but I had to reboot the machine because I couldn't see anything anymore.

Then, after running Scandisk in DOS, I typed "win" to start Windows 98 from MS-DOS, after which Windows performed a Scandisk check by itself. At this point it also must have changed some settings, because the next time I tried to shut down the "suspend" option had disappeared from the shutdown dialog box. Restarted the system from the dialog box instead, continued checking some stuff and enjoyed the better speed obtained through defragging a drive that seemingly was never defragged before. Then I shut down the system, and it actually shut down properly 8-O . I...I don't know what happened, actually :?: . It looks like the seller attempted to reset Windows 98 to factory settings (and I suspect he simply pulled the power plug instead of shutting it down properly), and then when I started it the first few times it did not detect the configuration properly, needing a certain amount of reboots and applications of system utilities for things to work out. Weeeeeiiiird. I certainly did not expect to be able to actually fix these kind of issues without reinstalling Windows, but it did work out. :happy:

To Do: check what kind of crap that's part of the original installation it loads on start-up.
Other: Fix or replace CD-ROM drive.


I strongly suspect the amount of start-up crap is limited, given that the only things I've seen are presets for a variety of Japanese internet providers. The CD-ROM drive is made by Matsushita/Panasonic (Type: UJDA150) and looks like it might be a pain in the behind to find outside of Japan...
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